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Posts by Mark Maddy

Sustainable Seafood

Sustainability can be a tricky word. It has ideals and emotions attached to it and it can be challenging to define. We know that what ever we deem sustainable, it should have a conscientious impact on the environment, the life cycle and quality of life of the organism in question. Seafood has been a staple protein in cultures the world over for thousands of years. Technology and mastery of fishing technique have brought us into dangerous territory and it's necessary to make sure that our fishing practices are maintaining themselves for generations to come.

Eco systems and environments have different needs. Fresh water fish are very different than salt water fish and require different standards and practices to maintain their sustainability. Almost all fresh water fish must be farmed to be sustainable. There are plenty of farms, whether they be recirculating tanks or pens in a river that have standards that pass the peer reviewed science of the Monterey bay Aquariums Seafood Watch program.

The Seafood Watch program is Wheatsville's main standard for choosing our seafood selection. We also use the Marine Stewardship Council and EU standards such as the RSPCA. 

What does this mean to our seafood shoppers? It means we do the best we can to make sure that the seafood you buy from Wheatsville is clean, safe and socially responsible. Enjoy our seafood selection and feel confident that you are eating responsibly.


Local Vendor Spotlight: Bastrop Cattle Company

Wheatsville has been offering Bastrop Cattle Company Beef for many years now. We are privileged to be able to offer beef that is raised entirely on grass and in pasture their whole lives right here in Texas. Pati Jacobs helps the ranching community here in Texas by utilizing cattle from other local ranchers. This helps keep families on the land and by sharing the same standards, protocols and values we get beef that is raised right and is consistently top notch. Pati was kind to take time to answer a few questions for us:

How did you get started in ranching?

My family went into ranching when I was a child. I learned how to work cattle from my Mom and Dad. After my Dad died and my Mom became sick, my brother and I returned to the ranch (from living and working overseas) to take care of Mom and raise cattle. At the time, I thought there had to be a better way to make a living than just raising the calves and selling them across the auction ring. That's when my brother, Cleve, and I started doing all grass fed (2008) and looking to sell direct to customers.

What is your philosophy about raising cattle?

My folks always raised cattle on grass, but during my Dad's life the USDA started pushing the hormone implants and all kinds of stuff like heavily fertilizing the grass and using herbicides and pesticides. My Mom started getting away from that when she took over the ranch after his death. My brother and I had been looking at the grass fed movement and so we just decided to stop using all the artificial chemicals and went straight natural and organic. Even though we're not certified organic, there hasn't been any chemicals on the ranch in over eight years. We also started working with other family ranchers because we knew we would need more cattle than we could raise by ourselves.

Everyone who works with us commits to NOT using any antibiotics or hormones and no fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides on their ranches.

We also think that the better you handle the animals, the better the beef. We use low impact handling methods on the cattle. This means having them gentle enough where you can call them into corrals and enclosures to work with them. We don't use prod sticks or any rough ways of moving them. We use squeeze shuts to immobilize them when we need to check them.

Also, the processing plant where we take the calves has a humane approved butcher.

How do your ranching practices differ from large scale ranching?

The difference between our ranches and our cattle and the big Agro-industry operations is:

  1. Our animals are on grass all their life. They are pastured and are free to roam within the rotation programs that we have. This means that they are not standing in their own manure being force fed on grains and other additives.
  2. They never receive hormones or antibiotics (if an animal becomes sick and we have to treat them with antibiotics then they are not sold for human consumption. They are on natural grasses, fresh water and are not exposed to any chemicals.
  3. Our cattle are processed at a small, family owned processing facility in Schulenburg where each and every one is inspected by a State Inspector who also makes sure that they are killed properly and that the meat is healthy. This is not an assembly line processing plant. They take great pride in handling the animals properly and they cut up the meat with skill and pride.

What is your favorite thing about Wheatsville?

Wheatsville Co-op has carried our product from the very beginning of the start of the company. You helped me get started by offering a place for me to sell my beef.

Wheatsville is a great place that really cares about what you offer and you are very honest about where those products come from, how they have been raised, grown, handled and made. I come in once or twice a week to do deliveries to you and I always buy my vitamins, cheeses, breads and veggies from you. I know I'm getting what you say it is!!


TrollerPoint Fishery

The TrollerPoint Fishery is a family owned and operated Alaskan fishery, one of the most responsibly managed fisheries in the world. Alaskan seafood is one of the states greatest and necessary resources and Alaskans take their seafood sustainability very seriously.

Mark Hoffman and his family fish for King and Coho Salmon seasonally. They fish using hook and line tools, pulling each fish out the water one fish at a time. This method pretty much eliminates bycatch and has virtually no impact on the environment where they fish. The fish are immediately processed and then flash frozen right there on the boat. These fish go from the water to the freezer in a matter of minutes. This preserves the flavor, texture and freshness. Mark also offers products caught by some of his fisherman friends such as the sea scallops from TrollerPoint, which are sustainably fished by a friend of his.

Check out the TrollerPoint web site and you can also follow them on facebook.


Stuffed Chicken Breast

NEW! For quick weeknight meals or weekend company try our new Smart Chicken Stuffed Breasts.  Housemade  and chock full of fresh ingredients that provide great flavor and a nice presentation. Wheatsville offers the Stuffed Chicken Breasts in two preparations - a butterflied and stuffed single chicken breast and a larger  “roast” preparation. 

Roasts are made with two boneless breasts, turned in opposite directions with the stuffing in between them and netted together. Roast in the oven with the netting and cut it away to serve.  Look for cooking instructions on our stickered labels

Cordon Bleu

This popular classic is stuffed with ham & Swiss and crusted with Panko breadcrumbs for texture.


A delicious exercise in simplicity, baby spinach and toasted pine nuts –it’s a classic with a little pine nutty elegance and is Paleo friendly.

Sun Dried Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts with Toasted Pine Nuts

This Mediterranean inspired profile is also Paleo-friendly and tastes fantastic.


Can you use a crock pot to “BBQ” Brisket?

As a matter of fact you can and you should! Set it up before leaving the house in the morning and when you get home, it's a short time to BBQ Brisket. It might not be BBQ in the purest sense, but it is certainly easy.


4-5 lb brisket, shoot for about a 1/4 inch thick of fat cover and lightly score the fat side 

The Rub:

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tbls chipotle chilis in adodbo sauce, minced
  • 1 tbls ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper

Combine the rub ingredients and rub it all over your brisket. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for an hour or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. 

The other stuff:

  • 3 tbls vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 tbls tomato paste
  • 1 tbls chili powder
  • 1 tbls chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbls cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke-I make this recipe with out this, so I feel like it's optional

You will also need a metal loaf pan that fits inside your slow cooker.

The Process:

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion until softened-about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook until it starts to brown-about a minute.
  2. Mix in the chipotle, chili powder and garlic and cook just until fragrant. Put this mixture in the center of the crock and cover it with the upside down loaf pan.
  3. Add the water and put the brisket on the loaf pan-fat side up. Cook on high for 7-8 hours or on low for 10-12.
  4. Remove brisket and cover with foil to rest for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the loaf pan. The juices will accumulate under the pan and spill out when you break the seal—sweet, sweet sciencey stuff.
  5. Pour the contents of the crock into a bowl and skim fat if you want (i usually do not skim the fat). There should be about 2 cups left. If not, add water.
  6. Pour 1 cup over the brisket after slicing. Whisk ketchup, vinegar and liquid smoke in the remaining juices for your BBQ sauce. Enjoy.

How Awesome is the Crock Pot?

The Crock Pot is a versatile kitchen tool that allows you to choose your basic level of cooking involvement. The science and experiment based cooking shows like Good Eats and Cook’s Country as well as the Cook’s Illustrated magazine have done some great work in bringing the humble crock pot into a modern context and helping realize more of its potential.

Try this recipe for slow cooked pork chops:

• 2 cups vegetable broth            
• ½ cup salt
• ½ cup light brown sugar
• 2 tbsp black peppercorns, slightly crushed
• 1 pound ice
• 4 (1 to 1 ½ in. thick) bone-in pork chops
• 2 tsp salt
• 3 ounces dried apple slices
• 2 tbsp Olive Oil
• 1 large onion, julienned
• 1 ½ cups chicken broth
• 1 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
• 1 tsp dried thyme

Combine vegetable broth, ½ cup salt, light brown sugar, and peppercorns in a medium sauce pan. Cook on medium heat until salt and sugar dissolved. Add the ice after removing from heat, Put pork chops into a 2 gallon zip top bag along with brine mixture. Place the bag in a bowl or container and put in the refrigerator overnight.

Remove pork chops-rinse and pat dry. Season with the salt.
Put apples into the crock pot. Heat 1 ½ tbsp olive oil in sauté pan at medium high heat and brown the pork chops on both sides-5 to 6 minutes per side. Place the pork chops ontop of the apples. Add the remaining olive oil and the onions to the pan. Cook the onions till they start to brown and caramelize-3 to 4 minutes.  Add the chicken broth to deglaze the pan. Add the black pepper and a thyme and move to the crock pot. Cook on high for 1 ½ hours. Reduce the heat and cook for another four and ½ hours.

Even though the recipe calls for 4 and ½ hours-start checking them before that -the pork chops should be tender and pulling away from the bone.

To keep with the ease of cooking try the Near East Rice Pilaf, Couscous or Quinoa boxes. Some sautéed Brussels sprouts would be another great addition to the plate.


New Twists on the Grill

You know why a weekend road trip is so satisfying? Because it’s great to get away from your usual routine and see what’s going on somewhere else. I feel the same way about summer cookouts. Everyone loves ‘em, but there is such a thing as burger and dog burnout, no pun intended!

If you’re up to trying a new twist on the grill, here are a couple of personal favorites that I’m sure you will find grill-friendly and tasty too.

BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

The slow-grilling over indirect heat keeps the chicken moist and tender.

2 large cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
10 Smart Chicken drumsticks
2 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup finely minced onion
¼ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Mash garlic, brown sugar, salt and pepper into a paste using a mortar and pestle or blender. Place the paste in a sealable plastic bag.

Rinse the drumsticks under cold water, pat dry and place in the bag rubbing and tossing to coat well. Refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.

In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and cook onions until tender (about 5-7 minutes). Stir in ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes. Set aside

Prepare a medium heat grill. Oil the grill and brown the drumsticks over direct heat, turning once. Once browned, move the drumsticks to indirect heat (250°F or so) and begin grilling, turning and basting with the sauce every 10 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the juices run clear (about 40 to 45 minutes)

Garlic Butter Steaks

This recipe works well regardless of the type of steak. Just baste with butter for  the best fajitas ever.

½ cup butter
2 teaspoons garlic powder
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
4 top sirloin steaks (10 to 12 oz each)
OR 4 boneless rib eye steaks
olive oil
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Remove steaks from refrigerator about 45 minutes prior to grilling. Drizzle olive oil on each steak, season with salt and pepper to taste, cover with plastic wrap or paper towel and place on kitchen counter.
Prepare a hot grill (450°– 600°)

Melt butter with garlic powder and minced garlic in a small sauce pan and set aside.

Grill steaks over hot direct heat for 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove from grill and transfer to plates. Brush both side of the steaks with garlic butter and allow to rest 2 to 3 minutes before serving.


Selecting Steaks for the Grill

Steaks are the most lavish of grilling items. Here we are talking strictly about beef, which is what most folks think of when it comes to steaks.

The Middle Meats
The most familiar steaks for most Americans are the middle meats. The middle of the cow sees a lot less action than the front side, the forequarter, and the back side, the hindquarter.  This makes the Ribs, the Strip and the Tenderloin the most tender parts and the fat that surrounds these areas is of the highest quality throughout the animal making them the most luxurious and expensive cuts of beef. Wheatsville currently offers Rib Eyes and Tenderloin. Tenderloin, as the name suggests, is extremely tender with a mild flavor. A nice seasoned crust will help this absurdly tender steak melt in your mouth. Rib Eyes, while not as tender, have a lot of flavor. They are not as lean as tenderloin so You should keep an eye on them when grilling, to avoid flare ups that can over carbonize your steak. Just some salt and pepper is all you really need for these guys.

Sirloin Steaks
The sirloin is the top part of the hindquarter. These steaks are considered to be the second tier of steaks after the middle meats. Sirloin is tender when handled correctly and while not as flavorful as the middles, it certainly packs plenty in the flavor department. From the full cut, a steak from the whole Top Sirloin to the Sirloin Petite Steak, these steaks are a great addition to the grill. You can play with flavors here — use you favorite rubs or marinades. The Sirloin Tip Steaks are cut from a different area but are more tender and flavorful than anything else cut from the round area. They benefit from adding flavor and are great economical cuts for the grill.

Shoulder and Chuck
The simplest and most cost effective way to cut any steak is laterally. In the case of beef shoulders and chucks, this makes a steak that consists of several different muscles that have different grain directions which makes a chewy steak.This is compensated for by cutting the steaks very thin. Here at Wheatsville, we cut those steaks differently. We “seam out” the primal and separate each part into individual muscles and subsequently individual grains. By cutting single muscle steaks they can be cut thicker for the proper cook and a much better eating experience. From the shoulder we get the ranch steak. These steaks are pretty lean and can benefit from rubs and marinades. The Denver steak is cut from the chuck. Chuck is not as lean as shoulder and part of the chuck comes out of the rib eye and steaks cut from there are called Chuck Eye Steaks. These have the flavor and structure of Rib Eyes, but are less expensive.

Be adventurous and try out some new steak cuts. Steaks bring a touch of luxury to the grill—flavorful, delicious and tender.

From our Co+op Kitchen Video Series
How to Cook a Great Steak with Johnny Livesay from Black Star Co-op

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